Up until boy number three, Eric, I was doing surprisingly well with my recent diagnosis. I had read several blogs and forums that gave me a lot of hope that dating wouldn’t be nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, and that guys would be much more understanding about my condition than I imagined.
Now dating in D.C. has always been a bit of a challenge. Even before I found out about my herpes, my dating life was filled with nothing but untrustworthy men, so I’m not sure how I managed to convince myself that things would magically work out with the first guy I told.
Eric came on pretty strong when I first started talking to him. He showed a lot of interest from the beginning – not that this meant much to me initially since we met on Bumble. Still, we clicked almost immediately and quickly started texting pretty much all day every day. This included a daily good morning text at 5 AM, which is when he had to be up for work. After about 10 days of this, we finally met up for dinner and drinks. Our attraction to each other was just as strong in person, but I made sure that nothing happened beyond kissing on the first date. He was a perfect gentleman about this. He held my hand as he walked me to my car, and gave me a final kiss before I left to go home.
Nothing changed over the next few days. We continued texting regularly, and he talked more about how he couldn’t stop thinking about me and couldn’t wait to see me again. He asked if he could come over to my apartment, and I knew what that meant. I realize now that telling a guy about my herpes on a second date seems a little soon, but at the time I was an anxious mess on the inside and just wanted to tell him already so I could stop panicking.
And I was seriously panicking. For the twenty minutes between the time I got his text saying he was leaving his place to the time he got to my apartment I was frantically texting my best friend. Our conversation was essentially a back and forth of “I can’t do this” on my end to “YES YOU CAN” on her end.
Still, when he arrived at my apartment I managed to keep it cool. We lasted about 20 minutes through “Netflix and chill” until the “Netflix” part ended. Before any clothes started coming off, I stopped and started to tell him about my condition. To be honest, I have no idea what I said to him. I just remember that my heart was racing and I started laughing halfway through because that’s what I do when I’m nervous. What I do remember is the complete shock I saw on his face. He had no idea what to say, but then suggested that we hold off on sex.
But then he continued to take my clothes off. I was confused but quickly realized he still wanted what he came for, even if it had to be done in other ways. In my fragile and still hopeful state, I didn’t say no. If I could go back in time though and do it over again, my encounter with him would go something like this instead:
The next morning, I woke up at 7 AM expecting to see a “Good Morning” text – I didn’t. I already knew what this meant, but I gave him until I got off work at 5 PM that day before I completely lost my shit.
At 5:01 PM, I got in my car and completely lost my shit.
I cried on the drive home, threw myself on my couch when I got to my apartment, and bawled until there was so much snot in my nose that I couldn’t breathe. Then I took a nap, woke up, and cried some more.
It was the absolute lowest point I have had since finding out about my herpes, but also the moment when I was most grateful for my friends. When I woke up from my nap, I woke up to several encouraging texts from my friends. Without them I would have laid on that couch all night and all the next day.
But I didn’t. Instead, I slayed.
I spent the entire time in the shower reminding myself that I am a great catch and anyone should be happy to be with me.
I spent the entire time I was doing my makeup reminding myself that I don’t give a shit with other people think and that the only thing that matters is what I think about myself.
After about 3 hours of self-encouragement and 5 outfit changes, this was the result:
I can’t say I haven’t cried since that day, but I haven’t let another guy bring me down to that level of hurt, which is progress enough for now.